Music Masterpieces from Multi Packaging Solutions

The Pale Emperor by Marilyn Manson

The Pale Emperor is the latest hit album from iconic shockrocker Marilyn Manson, notorious for his decadent lyrics and robust metal sounds.

Developed by the Multi Packaging Solutions Creative team in Glendale, managed by the Special Packaging team in Chicago, and produced by MPS Dallas, this limited edition numbered box set achieved an artistic vision to give alternative rock fans an astonishingly mastered piece of art and music.

This release debuts our new GritKote™ technology.  Applied inline offset at both MPS Dallas and Chicago, this new technology incorporates sand-like particles into a specialized UV coating to create a distinctively rough gravel texture. 

The hinged rigid outer box is wrapped in Sandy-colored NatuurLinnen with a tipped-on metallic high-gloss cover photo, a debossed logotype on the spine, and a black foil stamp title on the back.  The box set contains five large lithographs with overall GritKote™ finish that are wrapped in custom black stock and a one-of-a-kind monogramed hand applied wax seal. It also includes a collectible MPS download card with grit-finish, an 8-panel unique softback, two LP sleeves, and a glossy oversized poster. 

Cheek to Cheek Collector’s Edition by Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga

Cheek to Cheek is a collaborative album produced by Interscope and Columbia Records featuring duets by legendary singer Tony Bennett and famous pop artist Lady Gaga. This album is an inspiration by both to introduce classic songs to the millennial generation, as they believe these acoustic sounds and memorable lyrics have an everlasting, universal appeal.

Photographer Steven Klein originated the artistic ideas behind the packaging and shot the candid photo of Lady Gaga with Bennett sitting and holding hands. Gaga’s look with her massive black curls is popularly compared to singer Cher’s character in the 1987 romantic comedy Moonstruck.

The collector’s edition features a 16” x 16” hinged collared box wrapped in Black Matador with the iconic cover photo tipped-on, framed in two color foil stamps. Lined with Navy Prestige and printed Rainbow Foil, the box set holds a collection of fan exclusives including a Glama Natural Clear envelope with six 8” x 10” art prints, an embroidered handkerchief with Bennett’s initials and Gaga’s red lipstick print, a pocket folder with sheet music autographed by Tony Bennett, and an envelope with six snap shot photos and a newspaper poster.  Also included are 12” and 7” LP jackets and two custom mini jackets. 

Designed by the MPS Culver City Structural team and managed by the Culver City Special Packaging team, the collector’s box set captured the excitement of the iconic collaboration.


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TricorBraun Helps Rejuvenate Home Introduce its Cleaning Products into Mass-Market Retailers

In the late 1990s, Joe McDonnell, founder and current CEO of For Life Products, LLC developed the formula for All Floors Restorer, the original product and core of the company’s Rejuvenateâ line. These restoration products are designed to return wood, laminate and other hard floor surfaces to “New Again” condition. The Rejuvenate Homeâ and Rejuvenateâ series also feature products for many other home surfaces including cabinets and furniture. Originally sold through TV shopping network channel QVC, eight years ago, the multi-year, rapid growth of the Rejuvenate line led to a national introduction into The Home Depotâ, followed by Menardsâ and other home centers and hardware chains, as well as mass-market retailers, including Wal-Mart and Bed, Bath & Beyond. The full Rejuvenate line now numbers almost 30 SKUs.

Last year, For Life Products analyzed its sales data to plan its future marketing. That analysis found that shoppers in the mass-market retailers where its products were sold tended to choose lower cost cleaning products for cleaning floors and cabinets over its more expensive Rejuvenate restoration products.

“This presented an opportunity for us,“ says Jim Hampel, For Life Products Chief Operating Officer. “We developed Rejuvenate Home, a new line of floor and cabinet cleaning products made with the same level of quality as our restoration products, but targeted specifically at the mass retail market.”

For Life Products decided that packaging the new products in slightly larger packaging would add perceived value for the more cost-conscious mass-market consumer. When it launched Rejuvenate Home at Safeway supermarkets in 2014, for instance, shoppers were introduced to the cleaning performance of the original line at a “value” price. The new bottles also needed to maximize shelf space to meet mass retailer demands. Another important goal of the project was to differentiate the new products from its restoration products, while still leveraging the brand equity of the quality Rejuvenate product line.

For Life Products reached out to TricorBraun to design the new packaging that would accomplish these objectives.

“TricorBraun was very instrumental in achieving our goals,” McDonnell says. “They worked closely with us to develop a clean, simple message to consumers––through both the bottle design and the label graphics––that lets us project the brand value of the Rejuvenate name while clearly identifying the products as cleaning products.”

In addition to being larger, with 20-, 28- and 34-ounce sizes versus the 16- and 32-ounce sizes of the restoration products, the new bottles are now white rather than the silver of the restoration line. The triggers and caps are in the signature Rejuvenate purple, the color used in its packaging and logo. The bottle design echoes the restoration bottle design, with a flat front billboard to capture consumer attention, but with a slightly more angular shape that accommodates the increased product volume.

“On mass retail shelves,” McDonnell points out, “products often get only one or two facings, and that front label has to capture attention immediately. TricorBraun’s design achieved that: the front panel is bright and eye-catching. It clearly distinguishes Rejuvenate Home cleaning products from Rejuvenate restoration products; when the consumer views the two bottles side by side, the difference is clear, yet the brand identity comes through.”

It was also important that the package be comfortable and functional for women, as they are the primary users of the product. That consideration affected a number of the design choices. Larger-sized bottles projected more value, but they could not be too heavy or unwieldy to use. Trigger sprayers, as well as the width of the bottles themselves, had to be designed to be comfortable for a woman’s hand.

TricorBraun designed the bottles and built the molds. The bottle labels are by Phenix Label, the flip-top closures by MeadWestVaco and the trigger sprayers by Guala Dispensing.

The first Rejuvenate Home products began shipping in September 2014 to mass-market retailers and initial sales have gone have gone well. For Life Products has also begun a expanding its market further by introducing Rejuvenate Home into grocery stores.

TricorBraun Design & Innovation Group is a business unit of TricorBraun, one of North America’s leading providers of bottles, jars, and other rigid packaging components. The Group’s primary mission is to design, engineer and manage the development, production and delivery of customized rigid packaging solutions for personal care, cosmetics, healthcare, food and beverages and industrial and household chemical products. It is supported by TricorBraun’s more than 40 offices globally, holding one of the largest inventories of rigid packaging components worldwide.

For more information about TricorBraun Design & Innovation, call Emily Bourdet, Director of Marketing, at 630-645-1205 or visit



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Paleo Meals To Go Unveils Redesigned Brand

In a saturated market where pre-packaged meal options are many, standing out from the competition is no easy feat. Paleo Meals To Go, the all-natural food manufacturing trailblazer of wholesome, freeze-dried Paleo meals, has taken strides to rebrand and take the company to the next level.

Paleo Meals To Go invigorates the lives of customers and fuels the adventures of outdoor enthusiasts, globetrotters, and adventurers with lightweight, freeze-dried nutritional meals with the added convenience of no prep, dishes or mess. The company realized while their meals were energizing the body with food, the brand was not effectively communicating how to live holistically, get outside and back to our roots as Mother Nature intended.

As direct-to-consumer sales increased, we saw the need to bring in a professional marketing company to enhance our online presence and assist in moving our brand onto retail shelves,” said Dawn Anderson, Managing Partner of Paleo Meals To Go. Sage Marketing Group worked with us to develop a clean and sophisticated brand design, a new logo, and striking product labels.

Enhancing the brand from a merchandising and online marketing standpoint helped the company effectively communicate its unique selling proposition to target markets.

The lively spirit of PMTG simply wasn’t translating to the brand,” said Julia Blyumkin, Account and Digital Marketing Manager at Sage Marketing Group. “An exceptional brand like this should never lose face, literally. We started with the tagline ‘Feed Your Adventure, Nourish Your Body’ and spun off the design to drive brand awareness, and ultimately, see these hit-the-spot eats fly off the shelves.

Paleo Meals To Go’s identity exudes mobility, convenience, and inspiration. “We wanted to take the customer somewhere – camping, hiking, backpacking, climbing,” said Sarah Rudy, Project Lead Designer at Sage Marketing Group. “Incorporating shots of nature paired with a color scheme reflecting the natural tones of your morning hike or sunset bike ride puts the customer in the moment.” The quality of the meals speak for themselves, but the packaging and brand redesign help with some of the talking.

To increase sales and brand awareness, it is integral for the packaging to engage customers at point of purchase. Replacing the illustrative leaping caveman and outdated, artificial colors with a bold, striking logo, contemporary, natural colors, and most importantly, vibrant photographs of the meals, revitalized the brand, commercially and artistically.

“We shot each meal in connection to its ingredients, the land they come from, and the best way to eat them: under the open sky,” said Kevin Heyse, Director of Photography at Sage Marketing Group.  The best part? You know exactly what’s inside!

With the fresh, newly branded look, Paleo Meals To Go will expand upon its core SKUs in the freeze-dried category, releasing a line of Paleo beef and chicken chilies and an all-natural line of Paleo fruit snacks. Meeting the dietary restrictions of its customers without compromising nutritional value or taste, the company’s gluten free, grain free, dairy free, shelf-stable meals make for ancestral food for the modern good.

Since the rebranded website and packaging launch just weeks ago, Paleo Meals To Go has made and will continue to make strides in the freeze-dried food categories. With more products in the pipeline this year, the revolutionized brand is bound for success.


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Transparent Container Co., Inc. Achieves G7 Master Printer Certification

Transparent Container Co, Inc. an industry leader in retail packaging solutions, has achieved G7 Master Printer status in January 2015, allowing our customers to benefit from the best color management available today. 

The IDEAlliance G7 Master Program is a qualification program that identifies those creatives, premedia and printing companies who have been trained to proof or print to G7 Neutral Print Density Curves and can meet print buyer requirements to produce proofs or printed output conforming to the metrics that reliably render brand images across print locations and different printing types. The qualification mark means that the printer uses the modern technology based on colorimetry, and employ G7 process controls. G7 Masters bear the IDEAlliance seal of approval. Attaining G7 Master status is a competitive goal for those providing creative, premedia and printing services, worldwide.

G7 is both a definition of grayscale appearance, and a calibration method for adjusting any CMYK imaging device to simulate the G7 grayscale definition. G7 yields a visual match between different imaging systems using simple 1-dimensional curves, and enables shared appearance between different printing devices or specifications when additional color management is not available. G7 utilizes one of the implementation methods of the new ISO 10128 standard for near-neutral calibration. A key benefit of G7 is that it is device independent. The G7 neutral print density curve (NPDC), gray balance definitions and calibration methodology are the same for any imaging technology, regardless of substrate, colorants, screening technologies, etc. The NPDC at the heart of the G7 grayscale definition was derived by analyzing the neutral tonality of typical ISO Standard commercial offset printing using computer-to-plate technology. G7 should not be confused with GRACoL7, which is the 7th edition of the GRACoL Specification.


About Transparent Container Co., Inc.

Since its founding in 1961, Transparent Container Company has become a leading designer and manufacturer of retail packaging solutions including; blister and club packaging, clamshells, printed plastic and paperboard folding cartons, and contract packaging.   Transparent Container services its clients from strategically located facilities in Illinois, Georgia, California and Mexico.  For additional information about Transparent Container Company, please call 888.449.8520 or visit our web site at



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Jon Denham Talks Creative Team Dynamics

During this in-depth interview with Jonathan Denham, vice president of brand design at ConAgra Foods, Denham shares insights gained from his experience as a creative leader for some of the world’s top brands and a range of consumer packaged goods categories in addition to work in the medical space that spans from brand identity to new delivery systems for vaccines. In his candid, straight-forward style, Denham discusses creative team dynamics, building value in and evaluating the value of package designs, and succeeding when working with the C-suite.

Denham is an industrial designer, a visionary brand and design organization builder, who credits his multi-faceted capabilities to his experience working for some of the world’s leading manufacturers in CPG, food and pharmaceuticals such as P&G and Kraft Foods. His accomplishments cover design innovation, brand building and organizational transformation on a global and regional basis.

Denham applies fundamental design skills to help identify, create and plan solutions to business problems. This leads to the creation and use of tools to define individual and collective elements of a brand experience and plan the development of an improved experience. Denham has applied his skills to individual brands and categories to define unique look, feel, sound and in some cases, aroma all critical the home and beauty care. Most recently, this has been applied at a corporate level to transform the corporate mission, values and identity and being applied to brands and categories within that business.

A game of two brands: Bulletproof design packaging and visual identity system for new Heineken® UEFA Champions League

·      New packs drive campaign expression ‘Champion the Match’

·      Careful fusion of two iconic brands across packaging and a visual identity system

International brand and packaging design agency Bulletproof today announces details of its work for Heineken in creating new packaging and a visual identity system celebrating the brand’s sponsorship of the 2015 UEFA Champions League. Bulletproof has designed new primary and secondary packaging for this event, as well as creating a complete visual identity system to flex across all touchpoints (BTL/OOH/Digital etc.).

In a global project combining two iconic brands, Heineken and UEFA Champions League (UCL), Bulletproof was tasked with designing packaging and a visual identity system that would elevate the match viewing experience and place Heineken at the very heart of the UCL viewing ritual. The new visual identity also needed to reflect the core theme from Heineken®’s promotional strategy and accompanying television commercial, ‘Champion the Match’, where the central figure creates the perfect match-viewing scenario for him and his shipmates.

Els Dijkhuizen, Heineken design manager commented, “UEFA Champions League is the ultimate stage for Football champions. We were looking to create a clean, simple and iconic design that celebrated the connection between the two famous brands, Heineken® and UEFA. We wanted a system that was expressive, and iconic. Bulletproof has been the perfect partner during the process, providing a strategic understanding of both the Heineken® and UEFA Champions League brands. The team at Bulletproof have delivered world class packaging and design for a world class event.”

Bulletproof communications creative director explained, “Heineken® is a notably inclusive brand that always strives to connect with its consumers and bring them closer to the experience. With this project, Heineken® required the packaging and visual identity to reflect the same notion as the television commercial – to empower consumers enjoying the UCL, helping them to make more out of the match, with a call to action of ‘Champion the Match’.  

The core challenge was the careful connection of existing Heineken® and UEFA Champions League brand identities. Bulletproof communications creative director commented: “More typically on design projects you’re dealing with one central brand identity. However in this case we needed to create a strong campaign combining two hugely well known brands in a new and celebratory way across packaging and a visual identify system – all while being sure to adhere to existing Heineken® and UCL brand guidelines, standards and requirements.”

Primary Packaging

After exploring several routes, Bulletproof’s packaging design for the Heineken® UCL bottle and can utilises Heineken®’s famous red star as a device to create an iconic connection between the two brands. On the bottle, the UCL trophy is given a premium look and feel with a new glow and silver foil. On the can, use is made of the UCL starball to enhance the new design.

Secondary Packaging

The secondary packaging is directly inspired by the Heineken® UCL ‘Champion the Match’ television commercial, set aboard a freight ship where the main character pulls on all his resources and utilises contents from a shipping crate to provide his fellow companions with the best experience to enjoy watching the football match. Bulletproof communications creative director explained: “For the secondary packs, boxes and cases for example, the shipping crate theme is translated in a subtle way – so consumers can ‘open up a door of the crate to join in the iconic world of UEFA Champions League football.”

In addition to the primary and secondary packaging design, the visual identity system included:

·       Logo lock up: the iconic combination of the 2 logos, campaign headline ‘Champion The Match’ and the UEFA starball stadium

·       Designs for print and OOH (out of home) campaign material

·       Experiential campaign designs such as fridges that emulated the shipping crate

·       Digital expressions and templates for use in social media

·       Designs for in-store activation to mirror the campaign expression of the crate, with doors, which open to reveal the promotional content.



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Shipping Rate Changes and the Bottom Line

Major parcel carriers, including UPS and FedEx, have changed the way they charge for U.S. ground shipments weighing less than 150 pounds in 2015. What does it mean for your business? Depending on its size, a package could be subject to a minor hike in shipping costs. But, for companies that rely on parcel carriers to distribute products across the country, the change could mean huge expenditure increases and decreased profits – two pitfalls that can easily be avoided.

Not All Weights Are Equal

The growth of e-commerce and digital purchasing behaviors has increased the number of mixed product shipments, or the shipment of many individual items as opposed to in groups or bulk quantities. This has led to the over-protection of products with oversized packaging, and the use of one-size-fits-all packaging, in which a retailer will pack varying items in the same-sized box, regardless of size or extra space. These behaviors decrease supply chain efficiency, so parcel carriers are looking to minimize wasted space, meet sustainability goals and improve profits wherever possible. Shipment costs are traditionally assigned based on the actual weight of a package, as it reads on a scale. Carriers will now determine shipping costs according to the dimensional (DIM) weight, or the theoretical weight of a package based on its volume and a carrier-determined optimal density. The current optimal density for U.S. carriers is about 10.4 cubic feet, or 0.0060 pounds per cubic inch, which makes the current DIM factor 166 cubic inches per pound. Consider a five-pound shipment. On the left, a box that is about 0.3 cubic feet has a density of about 17 pounds per cubic foot. In this case, the parcel will be billed per actual weight and the DIM factor will not be used. On the right, a box that is 1 cubic foot has a density of 5 pounds per cubic foot. The density is much lower, but the volume that is being used is more valuable than the actual weight, so the box would be considered heavier based on that larger volume and billed per the DIM weight.

Mitigating The Effects

What does this mean for shippers? In many cases, it could mean no change. The DIM weight is already automatically applied to packages larger than three cubic feet, and packages that are denser than the carrier density factor will be billed according to the actual package weight. But for others, this may mark an unprecedented shipping rate increase that could have a dramatic effect on their business. In the marketplace, customers might see higher subscription costs for online purchasing clubs, and a reduction in companies that offer free shipping. Products may be priced higher, as shippers attempt to pass the costs through to buyers. At the same time, this could instill buyer sensibility, heightening awareness of shipping costs and the need to shop around for retailers that take a more responsible approach to packaging. For companies that are impacted the most by this change, there are several ways to minimize the cost of shipping and avoid paying exorbitant DIM rates:

  • Maximize the package density. Reorient products to fit more snugly in a package so that weight and DIM are equivalent. 
  • Decrease the overall package size. Reassess the size of the packaging that is being used for certain products to minimize the size of the box used. 
  • Reduce excessive protection. Excessive use of peanuts, air strips, bubble wrap and other packing products leads to the use of oversized, less-dense packaging with higher shipping charges.

Maximizing Margins

After decreasing the package size to offset the carrier shipping charge, the question must still be asked: does the package still work? The core purpose of a package is to protect. If a product is affected by damage by the time it is received and rendered unusable by the end consumer, then additional costs to manufacture and issue replacements can also affect a company’s bottom line. In the following example, a company evaluates their total cost after a packaging redesign. Following the DIM weight shipping change, their shipping costs increased by 8% from one year to the next. This change initiated the package redesign resulting in an immediate savings on packaging cost but an increase in product damage rate percentage resulting in an increase in total cost. With Smithers’ total cost evaluation, the client is able to better optimize their packaging, While their shipping costs did increase slightly, they were still able to save on packaging cost while still maintaining their damage rate at 2%.

Distribution testing allows a company to validate package redesign and ensure superior performance in the supply chain. It’s a great way to collect data about the performance of a package. Testing also evaluates the effect of the package change on the damage rate and estimates the total cost to supply a product. There are four major evaluation areas for distribution testing:

  • Vibration Testing. Determines how a package will withstand hazards while being shipped via air, road or rail. 
  • Compression Testing. Determines how a package withstands weight stacked on top of it during storage and transport. 
  • Impact/Drop Testing. Determines how well a package protects its contents against various drop and impact conditions. 
  • Atmospheric Testing. The conditioning of a package to determine how it changes under various changes in temperature, humidity, etc.

After package redesign, approval and distribution testing, the next step is to determine whether or not a product will work in the supply chain and the total cost to implement. Smithers Pira developed a total cost estimator – the PACKSmart Calculator – to help people understand the total cost equation and predict how changes might affect a company’s bottom line. Visit to learn more about the PACKSmart Calculator.

Positioning For Success

Increases in shipping costs may affect total costs, but reducing the packaging may result in an increase in damage costs. The key is to understand how product requirements, damage rate, and current shipping costs versus future shipping costs each will affect the total costs before considering the best option. Balance the damage rate with the need for adjustments using resources like the PACKSmart Calculator and distribution testing to achieve the best possible results.

About Mike Kuebler

Mike Kuebler is the Technical Director of Distribution and Package Testing at Smithers Pira. With more than 15 years of experience in the transportation and packaging industries, Kuebler guides a team of packaging experts who analyze the true impact that the supply chain has on a package. Whether manufacturers are looking to optimize the cost and design of their current packaging, reduce the use of packaging materials to contribute to sustainability initiatives or analyze and correct package damage issues, Kuebler keeps the focus of all efforts on the concept of “Just Right Packaging.”

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